Tuesday, May 20, 2014

UFT Contract: The "VOTE NO" Caucus Says .......

They're flying in from all over the place. I'm assuming you're reading the great stuff over at the MORE blog.

We are better off with the old contract until we can get a better one. Vote NO on the UFT Contract Offer!!

Have you noticed that every new contract that has been imposed on us UFT members over the past two decades has more give-backs than improvements. This contract is no exception. Moreover, the top brass of the union continually manages to shove the new contracts down our throats with no discussion either in the chapters or even in the Delegates Assembly. Now we are being told that if we reject this rotten offer we will only make things worse because we can’t get anything better and we will have to “go to the end of the line” of unions negotiating with the City. However, the real truth is that things will get worse if we approve this deal. While it is true that a few people may get a few crumbs from this contract, for the vast majority it is a lose-lose deal. Here are three good reasons to VOTE NO:

1. The back pay totalling $3.4 million will be paid for by health care cuts that must be accepted all city workers. !  “If the other unions agree to similar health care savings, the spending cuts realized would total $3.4 billion, officials said — the same amount as the teachers’ union’s back pay.”

2. If this contract is approved teachers and staff of TWO HUNDRED (200) schools will find that they will NOT be covered by certain contract provisions and protections that the rest of us have.! And in an effort to encourage innovation in areas like hiring and scheduling, 200 schools would be eligible to apply for exemptions from city and union regulations.”

3. The Department of Education wants to get rid of senior teachers and create a system of new teachers, who are paid less and can be forced to do anything, i.e., grovel, to keep their job, because they will have no tenure rights  The UFT--”our” union--has gone along with this plan. The first major move against job protection happened two contracts ago with the elimination of seniority transfer rights  originally established, not to give senior teachers privileges over junior teachers but to protect teachers and staff from arbitrariness and favoritism on the part of the principals so we didn’t have to grovel for our positions and could function with dignity. With this gone, senior teachers are targeted for “U” ratings so as to get rid of them because they cost more than a newer teacher.

Another consequence of getting rid of seniority transfer rights has been the creation of ATRs, the Absent Teachers Reserve. Most of the 1,500 ATRs are senior teachers who were not “selected” for rehiring by principals when some of the more than 160 schools were closed and new, smaller schools took their place. These senior teachers were not selected because they cost more than newer teachers, a consideration that has become critical since school principals now have their own, limited budget, a change implemented at the same time that seniority transfer rights were eliminated. These teachers are left with no permanent assignment. The DOE (and the UFT officials) evidently anticipate that that ATR’s will become demoralized and disgusted and quit--”disappear.”  But many have not given up.

We must say NO to this “streamlined” firing scheme!!


Then here are the reasons to vote NO raised by the MORE Caucus in the  UFT:

“The raises do not keep up with the cost of living. 18% over 9 years is less than the rate of
inflation. In short, our real earnings will be less at the end of this contract than they
were at the beginning.
• We don’t get the original 8% raises until 2018 and we won’t get all the retro pay until
2020. Other city workers got their two 4% raises already and continue to earn them
each year. We will get them only in small increments beginning in 2015.  
• Only minor changes to the teacher evaluation system: We are still being evaluated
based on student standardized test scores.  
• This contract does not include reductions in class size.
• The contract introduces individual merit pay. The creation of Ambassador, Model, and
Master teacher categories will divide our members and encourage us to compete
against each other rather than collaborate with each other.

Tell the UFT officials to go back and get a good contract for us, one that strengthens our power and improves our living standard and protects us from nasty principals and not one that weakens our power and lessens our protections.”

Vote NO !!!!!
The “VOTE NO!!” Caucus


  1. I think the fact that health care cuts are built into this deal is the first reason to say no. ICE had this part of the MOA up on their blog.

  2. To be clear I am a no vote. I am a teacher and I get why this contract sucks for educators. Sadly this contract will likely pass because a large population of voters could care less about the parts of the contract that only mostly affect teachers. For many (paras, secretaries, guidance, psychologists, etc..) the only real consideration for them is the money, and to be clear I don't really blame them for that especially paras. They work for dirt pay and get treated like crap. They aren't even an after thought to the union. A yes vote means more money now for them. Most paras (not all) I have talked with are a yes vote simply because of the money. Which leads to the question of why is there only one contract and one all for one vote? Is there anything that could be done to seperate the contract into different parts to be ratified only by those that it affects? It truly sucks that essentially only teachers will have to live with the negative consequences of this contract while many others will benefit financially with no cost to themselves at all. At a minimum the evaluation system should only be voted upon by those who will be subject to it. Why in the world is a school secretary or para getting a vote on how a teacher is evaluated. It really is BS.

    1. To be clear, the secretaries are very upset about this contract. Aids are being given our jobs even though we won this in arbitration. The Chapter Leaders of the schools are aware of this and do nothing. Mulgrew was made aware of this as well as the Secretary Chapter Leader Mona Gonzales. The have not opened up the test in over 5 or 6 years. They have not hired or replaced retiring secretaries in years. The Union is aware of these issue and they do not care or don't do anything to help. We call on our Brother and Sister Union members to vote NO on this contract. We are skilled and educated labor; not morons and robots. We do administrative work that the Administrators should be doing. Our title needs to be changed and no one from the Union addresses that nor addresses us. They have forgotten or ingored us.

  3. I guess you don't understand election rules 10:45. Teachers, Paras, Secretaries have individual vote counts. Perhaps you are a first year employee and do realize that each title has their own collective bargaining agreement. Teachers vote on the Teachers contract. Paras vote on the Para contract.

    1. You are right - but I guess you don't realize there is nothing in the contract that improves the lot of secretaries or paras. Their YES vote only hastens their demise.

    2. No one negotiated for us. We did not get anything that we needed. We have aids taking our job. Keep your condescending remarks to yourself. We are overloaded with work that needs to be distributed to other secretaries that the DOE will not hire. This was a contract that limited very bad negotiations for teachers only. You're probably one of the teachers to continues to questions where the per session check is two days later after the secretary enters it and then bad mouths the secretary for not doing her job. You know what you can do with your election rules 10:45. Thank you and I am very sorry you had to answer with Anonymous. Ask a secretary how to use the Reply as: if you have the courage to use your name.

  4. Thank you 11:48. Still this is never really mentioned anywhere? I've been reading everything I possibly can on the contract and no where have I ever heard it explained how the vote is actually divided as you say. I am not a newbie and even a chapter leader and I have never ever been told this by my district rep or anyone else who has ever spoken to us at meetings. I am glad to hear it. I think it should be made more clear. I doubt most actually know this and I do think knowledge of this could alter teachers perception of the vote. My gut tells me our leadership probably prefers this lack of knowledge as it likely influences voting towards yes. I've actually been around for the 2005 and 2007 contract votes and I don't remember any sort of separate reporting? Only that it passed and one set of percentages. Any way, thank you for your response.


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